Our road trip starts from Bergen. If you would like to experience Norwegian mountain landscapes, waterfalls, picturesque towns, exciting viewing points and spectacular bridges, don’t miss this route from Bergen to Trondheim.
You drive through the longest road tunnel in the world, climb the famous Troll path and experience the spectacular Atlantic Road.
Follow the E16 national road along Sorfjorden, which is a 38-kilometer (24 ml) long fjord and one of the innermost branches of the Hardangerfjord. It stretches from north of the village of Kinsarvik straight south to the industrial town of Odda. The Folgefonna glacier and Folgefonna National Park are located just to the west of the fjord, and Hardangervidda mountain plateau lies to its east.
Some of the notable villages that line the sides of the fjord include (north to south) Kinsarvik, Lofthus, Vikabygd, Tyssedal, Eitheim and Odda. All the villages along the fjord are filled with fruit farms and orchards, growing fruits like apples and cherries.
About 10,000 years ago the Scandinavian land mass started to rise up as enormous glacial ice started to melt. The lower part of the valleys became flooded, and created what we today know as the Osterfjord. The valley was originally not only made through glacial erosion but by the high pressure melting water which pushed its way beneath the ice, carving the landscape as it is today.
There are lots of tunnels on the E16 and we arrive at the small town of Voss, which is surrounded by mountains, forests, lakes and flowing rivers. Voss is famous for its Extreme Sports Week, which is hosted every ear in the last week of June. It’s regarded as one of the world’s premier extreme sports festivals. In Voss you also find an open air museum with several old farmsteads, demonstrating medieval life in Norway.
About 14 kilometers after Voss, you’ll be passing the 110 meters high Tvidefossen waterfall, which is the biggest of several waterfalls along the way.
The Norwegians have constructed a series of tunnels to avoid mountain passes. If you prefer, it is possible to avoid the tunnels and drive on the small mountain roads instead. Many tourists don’t feel comfortable in the sometimes dark and narrow tunnels.
However, the newest tunnels are just exciting and car friendly. In Naerøy Valley the Gudvanga Tunnel is Norway’s second longest tunnel, 11,428 meters long (7.1 miles).
The Laerdal Tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the world succeeding the Swiss Goothard Road Tunnel. It is 24.5a kilometers long (15.23 miles). The tunnel carries two lanes of E16 and represents the final link of the new main highway connecting Oslo and Bergen without ferry connection and difficult mountain crossings during winter time.
Construction work started in 1995 and the tunnel opened in 2000.
Because of its length, the architects were considering the mental strain on drivers and divided the tunnel into four sections, separated by three 30 meter wide mountain caverns at 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) intervals. Blue and yellow light illuminate these caverns, giving the impression of sunrise.
Alternative route is the Aurlandvegen between Aurland and Laerdal. This road crosses the mountain and is definitely more exciting than the tunnel. If you are driving both ways, you may choose one driving one way and the other when returning.
Leaving E16, you follow National road 5 northwards. The Fodnes-Mannheller ferry takes you across the Sognefjord in 15 minutes.
Don’t miss the famous stave church in Kaupanger before leaving the town of Sogndal and entering into the Fjaerland region where you will have glaciers on both sides of the road.
Before you arrive at Jolster, leave Route 5 and take the E39 and later Route 60 to Norfjord and Stryn.
When in Stryn, leave the main road and head towards Grotli by Road 15. You will pass the lake Strynsvatnet after a few minutes and later, from Videseter, you have a beatiful view of the Stryn valley.
It’s like driving in a postcard when you take Gamle Strynefjellsvei (Old Stryn mountain road) to Grotli. The road was built in 1894 and its surface is still gravel. It takes you across the Stryn mountain pass and is one of the National Tourist Roads, only open during the summer season.
From Grotli to Geiranger, by Route 15 and later Route 63, the landscape is breathtaking.
Geiranger is probably the most touristic town in Norway. Thousands of cruise ship passengers and other tourists enjoy the beautiful scenery here every year. The town has 4 hotels, some 50 cabins and souvenir shops selling trolls, knitwear and postcard. The town has been nicknamed Pearl of the North.
Continuing on Road 63 we pass scenic mountain lakes until we reach Norddalsfjord and take the ferry from Eidsdalen to Linge. We are now heading for the Trollstigen (Troll’s Ladder) 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) north-east.
Trollstigen has an incline of 9% and eleven hairpin turns up a steep mountain side. Vehicles over 12.4 meters long are prohibited from driving the road. Stigfossen waterfalls near the top are falling 320 meters down.
Trollstigen is and has been the connection between two regions, Synnmøre and Romsdal. The crooked road was officially opened on 31 July, 1936 by King Haakon VII. Today it is a part of Road 63.
Back at sea level again, we head for Andalsnes, a village near the Romsdalsfjord. Road 64 brings us towards Afarnes where a ferry takes us across Eresfjord, and passing the Bolsoya Bridge we arrive in Molde. Road 64 continues towards Kristiansund and we’re on our way to the Atlantic Ocean, and a part of the road, appropriately called the Atlantic Road.
The spectacular road has become such a popular tourist attraction that caution must be shown when driving it, as both locals and visitors frequently use the road to go fishing directly from the roadside.
Atlanterhavsveien was voted “Norwegian Construction of the Century” on 27 September 2005. The road’s sharp turns and wild nature have ranked it first on The Guardian’s list of the world’s best road trips. Even in bad weather condition it stays open, which can be a thrilling experience.
From Kristiansund, take Road 70 and later R39, heading for Trondheim.
Ferature image (on top): Atlantic road. Photo: Glenn. HGSO
Along Norwegian Fjords by Car, compiled by Admin